It’s a Challenge. It’s a family friendly race. The Spa Running Festival – November 18th.
There are many races that we have opportunities to run in our region. But you should really look at the Spa Running Festival. No doubt you’ve heard about it. It’s growing. Did you know that it was recognized by Runner’s World Magazine as one of the ‘top races to run’ in a national park. Ok that’s pretty cool. And it’s right in our back yard. Supporting our neighbors and a few very worthy organizations, too (see below for more on charities).
And it has a special history for Go!’s chief running officer, Gary Taylor. ”The SPA Running Festival is a wonderful event,” he noted, “but for me it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first road race I ran in America, 35 years ago in 1982. I was a redshirt freshman at U of A and John McDonnell thought I needed a good race, so he sent me off to run the Spa 10K. Back then it started near the old Cinema and ended at The Arlington. I have vivid memories of finishing the race along Central Ave looking at the bathhouses. Over the years, it’s been great to watch the race evolve into the amazing festival it is today.”
Run Where Legends have gone before you!
The Spa Running Festival has grown into a key running festival in the South, attracting runners from several states with a 5k, 10k, or half marathon. When you run the 10K or half marathon, you will be running down the same streets where legends such as Babe Ruth, President Roosevelt, and Bugsy Malone. “This will be the 36th year for the Spa 10K and 5K race,” said Cindy Baswell, race director. “When we added the Half Marathon in 2015, we rebranded the race name to Spa Running Festival as it now offered an event for everyone from the kids, to beginners and those that like a challenge running West Mountain with the 10K and half marathon.” Cindy said adding the Summit² Challenge Half Marathon provides additional excitement, “and gives us more exposure, as we are attract runners from all over the United States. It’s wonderful that they get to see what the Spa City has to offer with the National Park, historic bathhouse row and the thermal hot springs water. It’s a great weekend getaway.” The 2017 race is fast approaching. Cindy shared with us some new festival attractions. “We have some new features this year with the addition of the Expo on Friday, a new flat and fast 5k course, 10K finishers medals and 5K finishers commemorative awards – so we keep making enhancements that makes it a great race experience for the race participants. I love that the race is the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so it’s a beautiful time of the year with the fall foliage and running through West Mountain. I invite all runners to ‘Come Run With Us’.”
There’s still time to Register (but many races are selling out fast): http://sparunningfestival.com
Benefitting Local Charities
The festival is run 100% by volunteers, which means the race entry fee goes directly back to the community. The festival supports three worthwhile organizations:
- Teen Challenge of Arkansas is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to biblically educate men 18 and older with life-controlling problems. This is accomplished through educational programs that are biblically sound and highly structured. http://www.teenchallengear.org/
- The Friends of the Parks is a non-profit organization dedicated to development and stewardship of Hot Springs area public parks Individual and Corporate partnerships are available for projects identified in the Hot Springs Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. The master plan is a comprehensive guide for future park, recreation and open space development. http://www.hsfriendsoftheparks.org/
- Proceeds from the Festival also fund numerous Buzz Wilson scholarships awarded to local high school seniors involved in the sport of running and/or fitness and who exemplify the principles identified in the Spa Pacer’s mission statement.
Expo: Friday from 3-5pm.
The Spa Running Festival Race Expo will take place at Hotel Hot Springs & Spa, 305 Malvern Avenue (Malvern Avenue at Convention Blvd). Admission to the Expo is free and it is open to the general public.
Go! Running will be at this year’s expo. Come see us and join in this popular running festival. We are so proud to be a sponsor and love being part of its history. Pack up the family and come see us in Hot Springs!